Nate Marquardt Announces Retirement

Nate Marquardt is calling it a career.

On Thursday, the MMA veteran who spent his years with the UFC, Strikeforce, and Pancrease, announced his retirement from the sport. Marquardt released the following lengthy statement on his website:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Since I became a Christian, this has been one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Jesus said we must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. The humility that a child has is shown in their dependency on and trust in their parents.

I have had many accomplishments and victories as well as many trials and upsets in my career. I have won 4 world titles and I have subsequently lost three of them. I have had many winning and losing streaks. I have battled chronic injuries and had 6 surgeries. I have learned that I can trust God in every situation and need to put him first. After 22 years as an athlete in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, I believe God is calling me in another direction.

I want to thank everyone that has supported me throughout my career, including the UFC, Strikeforce and Pancrase. I have many fans that have stuck by me in the ups and the downs and I want you to know that I really appreciate it. I have been blessed to work with so many of the best coaches and training partners in the world and I have much gratitude for every moment of it.

I cherish all the relationships that have been formed through this that sport we love. I am exceedingly grateful for those closest to me: my coaches, teammates, friends, wife and family. Above all, I thank God for his provision, protection, patience and guidance through my career.

I am also happy to say that I will still be involved in MMA on many levels. I will continue training in all aspects of MMA and I will also continue to run my sports ministry, Resurrection Jiu-Jitsu. I am currently pursuing a degree at Gateway Seminary, and I plan on using my experience in MMA and the UFC on the mission field.

At this point, my family and I are praying for direction for where God is leading us globally and by what means. Wherever and however we go, I believe God will use MMA in some capacity, either teaching at a gym, coaching fighters, running a sports ministry, and/or teaching seminars. Either way, we are excited for this next season in our life as a family and we are confident that God is directing our paths!

Marquardt’s journey into MMA started as a teenager when he began studying a variety of combat disciplines including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, and Kenpo. Marquardt’s career started in Pancrease, where he won his first six bouts in a row — all coming by way of submission. In 2000, Marquardt won the King of Pancrease Middleweight Tournament, defeating Daiju Takase, Kiuma Kunioku, and Shonie Carter to become Pancrease Middleweight Champion. Marquardt made two defenses of the title before losing it to Kiuma Kunioku in December 2001. Marquardt would have two more reigns as Pancrease middleweight champion before vacating the title during his third reign after he had signed with the UFC.

Marquardt made his UFC debut in the headline bout of the first-ever Ultimate Fight Night event on August 6, 2005, defeating Ivan Salaverry by unanimous decision. Marquardt tested positive for nandrolone after the fight, however, and he was suspended five months. He returned with a decision win over Joe Doerksen at UFC 58 in January 2006, and he went on to win his next two bouts to earn a shot at Anderson Silva and the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 73 in July 2007. Marquardt was defeated by TKO late in the first round.

Marquardt then went on to win four of his next five — including a Knockout of the Night performance against Demian Maia at UFC 102 — to earn a middleweight championship title eliminator bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC 109 in February 2010. Marquardt lost the bout by unanimous decision. He had another title eliminator bout nine months later, taking on Yushin Okami at UFC 122, losing that bout by unanimous decision as well.

After a win over Jim Miller at UFC 128, Marquardt’s teammate, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, suggested Marquardt drop down to 170. He was expected to make his welterweight debut in June 2011, but Marquardt was pulled from the card the day of weigh-ins due to not receiving medical clearance, and he was released by the organization.

After things did not work out for a BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) debut, Marquardt signed with Strikeforce. In his first Strikeforce bout, in July 2012, Marquardt knocked out Tyron Woodley to become the inaugural Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. But just six months later, in his first title defense, Marquardt lost the title to Tarec Saffiedine.

After Strikeforce folded, Marquardt returned to the UFC, but not to the success he once had. Marquardt was on the losing end of eight of his last 11 bouts, losing to the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Hector Lombard, Kelvin Gastelum, Thiago Santos and Vitor Belfort. In his last bout, about a month-and-a-half ago, Marquardt lost a split decision to Cezar Ferreira.

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